The box on officer Pat Pope's desk is full of painkillers seized in one case and prescribed by several doctors. It's commonly known as doctor shopping. "Where they were going around to different doctors and obtaining prescriptions from these doctors without the doctors knowin' they were seein' other doctors," Pope says.
Officers with the Coastal Narcotics Team say doctor shopping is the big thing with people hooked on the drugs, or with those selling the pills on the street. "It's just a huge problem. Prescription drug abuse is probably the fastest growing form of drug abuse we have now."
The narcotics team has two full time officers stopping in at pharmacies throughout Harrison, Hancock and Stone Counties looking for bogus prescriptions. Pharmacist Larry Krohn says, "The agents come by every so often looking for specific people, specific drugs. They get ideas that people are writin' forged prescriptions in one place, they come around to let us know to watch out for it and check with us to see if somebody's tryin' to pass 'em here."
The drugs people abuse are strong painkillers. Krohn says lortab, oxycontin, hyrocodone are just a few favorites. He says they are designed to fight chronic pain, but are extremely addictive. Pope says that addiction has people commiting crimes to support their habit.